Colombo, January 12 (Daily Mirror) – Health officers have unofficially advised all parliamentarians to avoid attending public events this week and immediately alert medical officials if they develop any symptoms of the COVID-19 virus, as three parliamentarians have already tested positive and at least 32 MPS have been directed to self-quarantine, a Parliamentary source told the Daily Mirror yesterday.
The Parliament Chamber was disinfected last morning, following SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem and Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara testing positive for the virus and part of the parliamentary staff have also been placed under isolation.
Till last evening, at least 32 MPS have gone into quarantine, but these numbers are likely to rise in the coming days, the source said as Minister Nanayakkara had attended all parliamentary sessions last week.
While all the first level contacts have been identified and will undergo PCR tests, the second and third level contacts of both Hakeem and Nanayakkara have also been encouraged to undergo Rapid Antigen or PCR tests. they have been advised to limit public movement this week and undergo a PCR test once again after seven days.
The first contacts identified are those who have travelled with Hakeem and Nanayakkara in the Parliament elevators, those who sat with them during the meals, those who had any skin contact and those who sat close to the two MPS during the Parliamentary sessions.
Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, on the instructions of health authorities, has granted approval to hold mobile PCR tests in the Parliament premises on January 13 and 15 for the Parliamentary staff and has also encouraged all MPS to undergo the PCR tests then.
The Speaker is also expected to hold another round of discussions with the health authorities by Friday, to look at the possibility whether Parliament can convene on Monday, based on the situation then. (Jamila Husain)